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Dean Partington came down from Debyshire to run Jim very close and finish second, dropping nine marks to Jim's six. Dean put up a fantastic performance in Binghams Wood and was the only class 7 or 8 to get away from the "impossible restart" at Verduns Bank on Beetle Drive. However, Dean had lost six at Brickhill, where local knowledge certainly helps. The locals had better watch out if Dean returns next year. Duncan Welch won the trial in the two previous years. However, running at the back of the field Duncan was caught out by some torrential rain that turned Edlesborough into a quagmire after most of the other cars had completed the section while there was plenty of grip.


There were three Suzuki XC90's taking part.

Peter Thompson in his wonderful Chummy

The Markyate Truck stop proved a great place to start proceedings, with a nice, reasonably priced, breakfast available after scruitineering by John and June Blakeley. Falcon had 47 entries which was reduced to 43 after four non-starters, including Steve Heath who had his Dutton Melos all ready to go but had the misfortune to have his passenger fail to arrive


Byway, a new section discovered by Murray MacDonald who ran the section with his family and friends. A long tree lined lane. Not much gradient but some mud and ruts to warm things up

Hazel MacDonald about flag Ivan Sharrock away on the first hill. Unfortunately Ivan had to retire in Binghams Wood

Competitors queue for the start. To the best of our knowledge this is the first time the lane has been used as a trials section.

The first section was a nice gentle lane, ideal to get several first timers into the swing of Classic Trialing. There is some nice potential to spice things up here in the future, but as this was the first time it had been used Murray MacDonald wisely decided to keep things simple and everyone went clear.


Byway, long straight climb on loose stones with the left hand rut getting deeper towards the summit where Simon Robson had organised a deviation for all and a restart for the higher classes. Class 0 did not do this section.

PCT regular Chris Smith was driving in his first Classic Trial (picture by Dave Cook).

Jim Bounden didn't quite master Simon Robson's deviation and is seen here recording a fail. Had it not been for this Jim would have won class 7 (picture by Dave Cook)

Jonathan Elliot only dropped 24 marks and was best novice in his BMW (picture by Dave Cook)

Dean Partington had no problems with the early sections but was caught out on the twists and turns of Brickhill (picture by Dave Cook)

This is one of the tracks that changes from year to year according to the amount of water that has run down it over the winter. This year it was very dry with not very many loose stones. However, Simon Robson had spiced things up with an artificial chicane towards the top with a restart for classes seven and eight. John Rowland, driving Peter Thompson's Opel, was the only non-restarter to fail. The restart caught out half a dozen of the higher classes though, including a couple of Dellows and the Marlin of Jim Bounden. This was a shame as Jim would have won class seven if he had gone clear here.


Byway - Another hill used for the first time on the modern March Hare but perhaps used by Falcon in the 50's. The section is a well surfaced track, approached by more than two miles of green lanes! There was a gentle re-start for 7 and 8.

Mark and Jack Endley in one of four Liege's taking part. It would have been six but Steve Kenny was taken poorly before the event and Richard Irvine didn't start.

Nick Woollett returning to the March Hare, where if memory serves me correctly he débuted his re-built Dellow Mk1 a few years ago

Another new hill, although it may have been used back in the 50's. Everyone went clear but this section is as much about the wonderful two miles of green laning before and half mile after the hill. Again there is scope to spice this up now Falcon have measured the lie of the land.


Byway - Mike Hayward had merged Cress Beds and Water Tower into one long section, with a restart for all classes on the step up to the road. The remainder of the section has been rather spoilt by the County Council who have filled in the ruts!

Mike Young coming up to the restart in his Dellow Mk2. This is the ex-Stuart Turner car and runs in class seven (picture by Mike Hayward)

Don Stringer and Stella Pearce ran their Austin 7 in Class 0, which missed out the two rougher sections. (Picture by Mike Hayward)

This merged section gave Mike Hayward and Richard Tompkins the chance to have a new re-start where the first part of the section (the old Cress Beds) meets the public road. There is quite a step there and correct positioning is vital. Most managed it but again it claimed half a dozen scalps.


Special Test followed by a sub-divided section laid out by Cliff Morrell on Private Land.

Geoffrey Stone in his Suzuki XC90 crosses the line on the Kensworth Special Test.

Paul Weston rounding one of Cliff Morrell's tricky adverse camber corners on his way to cleaning the section.

The special test was a nice simple affair, although the dash back to the line was on wet grass so care had to be taken to keep traction.

The observed section lay on the other bank of the valley, on damp grass, and laid out by Cliff Morrell, there were off camber turns to catch the un-wary. Amongst the lower classes most cars spun to a stop on the upper reaches. The exceptions were Steve Potter (Trojan), Simon Groves (Escort) and Keith Pettit (AH Sprite). Around half the sevens and eights went clear, but fancied runners Mike Pearson (Dellow Mk2 Rep) and winners for the last two years Duncan and Georgina Welch (AH SS) were amongst those who dropped marks.


Two sections on Private Land, both sub divided.

David Hunt helping Nigel Jones fix the drive shaft on their Skoda. It popped out in exactly the same place as Aaron Homewood's did last year.

Nick Bowler in the ex-Verdun Webley Marlin. Verdun was driving his recently acquired Rickman Ranger.

Richard Tompkins had laid out two long sections, incorporating all best bits of this regular Falcon venue. Most of the early runners did quite well, with the notable exception of Steve Potter who couldn't coax his Trojan over the first bank. That was unfortunate as Steve was reckoned a contender for an overall win after his performance last year. It was on for a Trojan though as Richard Potter proved cleaning both Edelesborough sections in his similar machine.

The problem came for later runners when the skies opened just as the final cars arrived, turning the sections into a slippery mess. Four or five cars really suffered here, including Duncan Welch who dropped an 11 and a 5, effectively putting him out of contention for a March Hare Hat Trick.

At this stage five clean sheets remained. Don Stringer (Austin 7), Simon Groves (Escort), Stuart Highwood (Dutton Phaeton), Jim Mountain (Dellow Mk1) and Dean Partington (DP Wasp), a great spread across the classes.


Two sub-divided sections on Private Land.

Class 7 winner Stuart Highwood blasting up the gully. (Picture by Dave Cook)

Geoff May, supercharged Dellow Mk 2 (Picture by Julian Robinson)

Verdun Webley, in his Pinto Engined Rickman Ranger, broke his diff on the last corner of the last section (Picture by Dave Cook)

Pete Crawford still has a Triumph engine in his Marlin, but its a Spitfire power plant rather than a six pot. (Picture by Dave Cook).

Brickhill was marshalled by The Herts VW Club. Check out their web site at http://www.hertsvwclub.org/

There was plenty of grip despite the damp conditions as the sandy surface is very free draining. However, local knowledge is certainly advantageous at Brickhill as the sections twist and turn and certainly the latter part of the second section could have been marked better. This probably accounts for Dean Partington dropping six. Don Stringer was another to loose his clean sheet, his Austin 7 running out of grunt in the ruts of the gully.


Special test and a Section on Private land. The section had a rather fearsome deviation for 7and 8 and a tricky re-start on an adverse camber for all at the end.

Roger and Christina Dudley in their Marlin.

Andy Clarke and Ian and Chris Lawson ran the restart.

The section finished with a tricky turn on an adverse camber. Don Stringer was the only non re-starter to avoid understeering off course. It was even more difficult for those that did have to restart, many not being able to reach the restart line. It looked as if Don could be the only clean until the class eights came along when most of them sized up the challenge and managed it OK.

With Simon Groves loosing his clean sheet Jim Mountain was the only competitor still on zero, followed by Geoff Hodge on the one point he had lost on the second Edlesborough section.


County Road - Clean/Fail run the opposite way round to last year. Ian Davis had organised a restart for classes 3 to 8. Class 0 did not do this section.

Michael Leete's Beetle queues behind Roger Dudley.

Class 7 winner Stuart Highwood sets off up the section.

This was another section that had "suffered" from Council repairs! Consequently it was run the other way round to last year, with a restart where the water has washed away the centre of the track. All was pretty simple you straddled this gully, but get the car titled over at a bit of an angle and it was another story. Five  competitors couldn't get away including all three Suzuki's!


Sub Divided, with restart for 7 & 8. The first of four sections in woods on private land near Potten End.

Richard Potter driving John Wilton's Trojan. Steve Potter in the other Trojan was the only car to clean this "stopper" section.  (Picture by Dave Cook).

Duncan and Georgina Welch failed to make it a March Hare Hat Trick when, along with some others at the back of the field, they were caught out by the rain at Edlesborough.

Falcon had hoped to run Hill Farm as a section but Mike Hayward and Dave Maitland thought the ruts were too deep. So it was into the woods at Binghams for the final four sections. Falcon are delighted to have the use of this facility for the March Hare. The land owner is a great enthusiast and was actually taking part as a passenger.

In the scheme of things Beetle Drive is planned as a stopper. "Verduns Bank" at the end being very tricky, spiced up by a restart for seven and eight to stop them getting a run at it. To emphasise its "stopper" role it was sub-divided for the first time.

The problem was that some of the saloons and sports cars had problems in the lower reaches. The club use two versions of the bottom half of the hill. A dry route and a wet route, which was used last year. The dry route was in use this time, incorporating a hairpin that stops cars taking a run at the muddy bit leading to the cross track. This caused real problems for quire a few of the lower classes and getting the cars out of the section took up quite a bit of time, causing a queue to build up.

The section was cleanable though. Steve Potter coaxing his Trojan over the summit. Keith Pettit (AH Frogeye Sprite) and Simon Groves (Escort) were the only other cars who came close to a clean, both scoring one.

The evil restart did its job in handicapping the yellows and reds and Dean Partington was the only driver to make any progress up the bank and even he stopped at the three. With Jim Mountain loosing his clean sheet the top four, with three sections to go,  were - Jim Mountain (Dellow Mk1) 6, Simon Groves (Escort) 7, Geoff Hodge (RDT) 7, Dean Partington (DP Wasp) 9


Clean/Fail - A new section, discovered on a working party by Verdun Webley. Restart for class 8 only.

Overall winners Jim and Peter Mountain made short work of the class eight restart on the new section.

Lights blazing, Mark Worsfold storming his way to second in class eight in his Liege.

The new section started at the bottom of the cross track itself, turning sharp left before the gradient increased, with a class eight restart where Mike Pearson had cut through a fallen tree that had blocked the track for many years.

Most of the entry went clean but both the left hander at the beginning and the muddy area at the summit claimed their scalps. The mud at the top was a particular problem as it was un-expected and caught out drivers who had relaxed after scaling the bank.


Clean/Fail with a restart for classes 7 & 8.

Mike Pearson and Doug Masters on the lower reaches of the section. (picture by Dave Cook).

David Manning and Paul Duncan didn't have to restart on the infamous tree root! (picture by Dave Cook)

This was the fourth year Falcon's Folly has been used. Much of the track has a hard bottom under the mud but the restart straddling the well known tree root is there to catch out the un-wary in class 7 and 8. With the exception of Falcon treasurer Geoff Hodge in the RDT all the reds made it but around half the class sevens didn't get it right.

Amongst the non re-starters this was another section that wasn't Suzuki friendly and they all failed. They were however, enjoying their own private battle, and were within a few marks of each other.


Clean/Fail with a restart for Class 8 only

John Norman carefully approaches the cross track on the final section in his Skoda Favorit (picture Dave Cook)

Peter hangs on Keith Pettit guns his Frogeye Sprite "Frog" on the same corner. Click here to read about Keith's two Frogeye's (picture by Dave Cook)

So the trial came to its last section. The lower reaches are pretty easy, the sting in the tail comes with the left hander just before the fence, with a class eight restart right on the bend itself.

Only three of the lower classes could get around the corner, even without a restart. We have come to expect this of Steve Potter who has now cleaned this tricky section three years in a row and will one day win the March Hare Trial with this car.

It was nice to see Classic Trial debutant Chris Smith go clean in his Golf GTi. David Manning (MG Midget) was the only other blue or yellow to go clear, all the others floundering on the corner, including Keith Pettit who still won the well supported class five.

The class sevens didn't have to restart either but it still proved a problem for them. It was on though, as Pete Crawford proved in his venerable LWB Triumph based Marlin, a bit lighter now it has a Spitfire engine instead of a six cylinder lump.

Keith Oakes (Dutton Phaeton) and Jim Bounden (Marlin) both went clear, leaving them on 19 for the event. Stuart Highwood didn't make it with his Dutton Phaeton, dropping six but still winning the class on 18. Mark Endley also finished with 19 and Best Falcon

In class eight Jim Mountain got away from the restart to go clean and win The March Hare Trial. Dean Partington went clear to finish second and take the class eight award. Mark Worsfold went well in Binghams Wood to come second in class eight with 19 marks lost, the same score as Geoff Hodge who lost 18 here.


Jim Mountain being presented with his trophy by Secretary of the Meeting David Jackson (picture by Dave Cook)

With Dad engaged elsewhere Simon Groves drove his Escort to a class three win.

There was a nice meal available at the Bull in Redbourn while the results were calculated. Mixed emotions at the result. Happy for Jim Mountain at his success after coming so close in previous years. Sad that Duncan Welch didn't make it a hat trick.

Full results can be viewed here

First published on Classical Gas 10th April 2008

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